The True Cost of Clothing

 

Choosing the right clothes is an important choice for you and the environment and one that can have a positive impact if you choose well. Merino is durable & long lasting so whilst the upfront cost may be higher than other fibres, the overall cost over the life of the garment is much lower as is the impact on the environment. Merino is good for you and good for the planet.

According to the The ABC’s War on Waste, 6000kg of clothing and textiles go to landfill every 10 minutes in Australia! Australia has an unhealthy relationship with fast fashion that is costing our earth! Clothing shouldn't be disposable and clothing should last. According to ABC - we are buying 60 percent more clothes than we did 15 years ago and we are only keeping them for half as long.

Fashion Show - Merino Country

               Move in Merino active wear on show at  Eco Fashion Week

Fast fashion is a $2.0 billion dollar industry here in Australia and it's expected to rise which means we could see the amount of textile waste increase as well!1 The costs of these items are low which is one of the appeals. However, this often means corners are cut such as low wages to the makers, low quality materials and quick construction of the garments that also cut's corners for durability. This means the garments have a short lifespan and will head to landfill fast. If it doesn't head to landfill then it may be headed overseas to where it is creating a catastrophe of it's own.

Dead White Man's Clothes

ABC recently covered a story about the environmental catastrophe that the "west" has created with the over consumption of fast fashion. It has been found that our obsession with the latest trends and styles is poisoning our earth. The story is called "Dead White Man's Clothes" and covers the problem of textile waste in Ghana that has become the west's dumping ground for textiles. There you'll see mountains of clothing waste that is destroying the environment, shedding plastics into water ways and causing fires. 

Landfill pile - dead white man's clothes
Image by ABC

 

How can we as consumers make better choices to stop this waste?

1. Choose well made clothes that will last.

2. Choose natural fibre clothes that are bidegradable.

3. Wear what you buy and repair it during it's life.

 Natural Fibres

 Jane Milburn, slow fashion activist and author writes that "Two-thirds of new clothing is made of synthetic fibres, which are derived from petroleum."  When we wash our clothes micro fibres are washed away into our water ways. When we wash synthetic clothes these are micro-plastics that get washed away! According to Fashion Revolution - "up to 700,000 fibres can come off our synthetic clothes in a typical wash ". These micro plastics can end up being ingested by marine animals causing harm to them and which we then consume! We are literally eating fashion! Choosing natural fibre clothes means these micro fibres are biodegrable and will not cause the harm that synthetic fibres cause. Natural clothing like wool can be composted diverting waste from landfill. Choosing natural clothing is key to slowing down this waste catastrophe. 

 Cost Per Wear

Let's talk "Cost per wear"! This is how you can calculate the cost of the garment you purchase per time you wear it. This is a handy tool to use when shopping for well made, ethical and sustainable clothing. It's no secret that these types of clothes cost more than fast fashion items from the big chain stores. So this is a great way to see if you can afford it. When shopping, ask yourself how often do you see yourself wearing that item of clothes as well ask how long you think it will last - then divide that by the cost.  

Cost per wear - Merino Clothing

The longer the life of a garment and the more you wear it, the lower the cost is per wear. The beauty of Merino wool is that it is comfortable, durable, keeps it colour and shape and wears for much longer than many other fibres. The garments we make are classic in style so that you can wear them year in and year out and their versatility means the same garment is great for work, travel and play.

Our customers love our clothes because they last if taken care of correctly & many still have items they purchased from us over 25 years ago and it's fantastic when they wear them or bring them back in to show us their "favourites"!  At the end of August 2021, Beverly was in the showroom to pick up some new items and bought in a T-Shirt & Camisole she purchased from us around 1998. The Merino T-Shirt cost about $65 then and if she wore it for just 25 days per year for 23 years (Number of wears =575), this equates to about $0.12 per wear!

           Merino T-Shirt

 Beverley showing us the Merino Country T- Shirt she bought Circa 1998

It's great see that government also values what we do. The Victoria Police chose our Merino thermals over polypropylene (synthetic) thermals in 2002 and we have since won the contract 3 more times and are currently making more thermals for their comfort and protection whilst on the beat.  We were able to show that our 100% Australian Merino were safer, healthier, better for the environment and in the long term a better financial investment as our thermals last longer than other options and the cost of the garment over it's live is much lower.

Slow fashion is slowly becoming the norm which is great to see! We need to slow down the pace of fast fashion consumption and start choosing well made clothes that will last... Naturally!

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